Rosemarie Emanuele

"Math Geek Mom"

Although she holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College, Rosemarie Emanuele is a professor and the chair of the Department of Mathematics at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. She loves to teach math but also pursues research related to the economics of nonprofit organizations and volunteer labor, and has published in both economics and interdisciplinary journals — as well as in the book that inspired this blog. She is the proud mother of a wonderful daughter.

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Most Recent Articles

August 21, 2009
Calculus, which I begin teaching again on Monday, is the world of the infinitesimal. Rather than asking about changes over a decade, year, or even second, we ask about changes over lengths of time and space that are so small they approach lengths of zero. We can then talk about changes that happen in an instant, or even a point.
August 13, 2009
In economics, we draw a graph matching the various prices that a good could be sold at with the quantity of that good that people would be willing to buy at each price and call it a “demand curve.” Sloping down, this demand curve can shift for many different reasons. Some of these reasons include changes in the income of the consumers involved, changes in the prices of substitutes or complementary goods, or changes in popularity of the goods themselves. For example, I suspect that the demand curve for horse-drawn carriages has shifted greatly since the advent of the automobile.
August 6, 2009
I guess we made the “big time” when this blog was criticized by the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. It said that the topic of “work-life” balance was silly, and that the conversations taking place here are better suited to women sharing coffee over a kitchen table. Now that we have gained the attention of the “Diary of the American Dream”, I want to make a small suggestion. I propose that we, collectively, arrive at a better word to describe ourselves besides “blog”.
July 30, 2009
There is a concept in economics called “indifference curves”. These are a graphical picture of combinations of goods that would leave the consumer indifferent between the different combinations. Are two apples and one orange just as good to you as two oranges and one apple? If so, these points can be combined on a graph to form an indifference curve, along with other combinations that also leave the consumer just as happy, or indifferent, among the various outcomes. The result is a graph of lines, similar to those found on a map depicting altitude or weather patterns.
July 23, 2009
A friend from college is spending the year in Rome, on sabbatical with his family, writing two books. Despite the desire to visit them there, to see Rome as no tourist can ever see it, and to introduce my daughter to world travel and the larger world, we did not visit them during the year. This is because the year they chose to spend in Rome was the year that the economy showed difficult times, and we could not, practically speaking, manage to make the trip.
July 16, 2009
When I was in graduate school, one of our teachers suggested to those of us planning to go on to teach college that we should “never do algebra in public”. For some reason, that bit of advice has stuck with me over the years, even becoming a mantra among my math majors here at Ursuline College. Whenever I am confronted with a difficult problem that I have not previously worked out, I find myself sidestepping the issue by saying that I don’t want to “do algebra in public.”
July 9, 2009
While on vacation a few weeks ago, we had lunch at a unique restaurant just off the beach in Newport, Rhode Island. It is called “Flo’s Clam Shack”. Founded in the 1930s, the building looks as weathered and wind-beaten as the name implies. While there was no sand on the floor that day, there often is, as people saunter in off the beach to enjoy the seafood. Flo had been one of the first to try frying the tasty clams found off New England, and had thus brought a delicious treat to everyone who lived there.
June 25, 2009
The first few weeks of graduate school, several facts became apparent. I am sure that I should have realized these long before moving to a new city and beginning a Ph.D. program, but I have to admit that I did not. They have, however, strongly influenced the path my life has taken, and deserve some discussion.
June 18, 2009
You may have heard the comment that the “three best things about teaching are June, July and August”. Those of us who are actually teachers know this is not exactly true. For some of us, the summer just presents an opportunity to earn some additional income, or, as in my case, to also maintain my department’s presence on campus and in the community by offering summer courses. For most, it is truly only two months long, as our contracts extend from mid-August to mid-June, and we are back to work long before September actually arrives.
June 11, 2009
When I was in college, a fellow student once told several of us about a boy she used to know. Apparently this boy experienced some difficulties in learning to write, and was also quite smitten with her. He once wrote her a love note in very broken English, the best he could do. The boy realized that he was not writing correctly, and at the end of the note, closed it by saying “all these mistakes are just trying to say ‘I love you.’” I have thought of that often, as I go through life and make mistake after mistake, trying to get it right but not managing to quite do things correctly.

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